I guess when it rains, it pours! I’ve been job interviewing since I was laid off in January, and right now I have two job offers in hand (or at least in email inbox)! I am waiting for a third. They are all roughly similar in terms of job description (marketing coordinator). One job pays a little more than the other two. I really don’t know how to proceed. Obviously I have to take one job and say “No thanks” to the other two. How do I decide which job to take, and how do I say “Thanks anyway” to the other two employers without burning bridges?
Hurrah for you! That is a huge feather in your cap – three job offers at once! Now your assignment is to go into a four-way negotiation between you and the three hiring managers who are interested in you, with the goal of using the zeroing-in process to decide which employer and which job offer the best situation for your ongoing mojo-building and development.
For starters, if there is one of the three jobs that just doesn’t float your boat as much as the other two do, let that hiring manager off the hook right away with a polite “No thanks” call or email message. You could write:
I just received your offer for the Marketing Coordinator position. Thanks so much for your confidence in me! I am sorry that I must decline your wonderful opportunity, but I’d love to stay in touch over time. If there’s anything I can do for you down the road, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It was wonderful to meet you and the team, and I wish you all the best with the X-15 product launch and all of your adventures.
Kelly [Green, e.g.]
Don’t send a brush-off letter like this one unless you’re sure you don’t want the job, no matter what happens with the other two employers! You don’t want to push away from your backup offer if there is any chance that you might end up wanting it.
Now, back to the two finalists for your time and attention, the two hiring managers attached to the other two job offers you’ve received. How to proceed with those guys? Let’s start by helping you zero in on what you need in your next job. Is it more training, or more exposure to executives, or more customer-facing projects? What is important to you at this stage in your career, and which opportunity seems to offer more of it?
You could list the attributes of each opportunity (room for growth, coolness of the job, stability of the company, intellectual level of the manager and/or the team, etc.) but I encourage you to step away from the standard business-y linear decision model, and remember what it felt like to be in each of the employers’ facilities. Where did you feel that the people ‘got’ you the most? A workday is long. You don’t want to spend your time or squander your gifts among people who don’t see or don’t value what you bring.
You can negotiate with the two employers to try and get one or both of them to improve the job offers. If you feel that the offers are below your market value, that might be a great thing to do. If not – if the offers you’ve received are fair based on your understanding of what these sorts of jobs pay – then don’t feel that you have to negotiate just to say you did.
However, I’d negotiate with either or both of your next prospective managers if you want to see how flexible they are. There’s nothing like asking a hiring manager, “I’m wondering, Gail, what flexibility you might have in the salary package – whether, for instance, you might be able to manage a $2000 sign-on bonus that would keep me at the level of my last salary” and getting the answer “No, there’s nothing we can do, so take it or leave it” to tell you when the universe wants you to take a hike.
You have two job offers already, Kelly, and a third on the way. Obviously you have something (and are doing a good job conveying what that something is) that employers need on their Marketing teams. Think, meditate, sleep, exercise and listen to your body to get the answer to the question “Which opportunity will let me grow my flame the most?” and then accept the job that feels like that flame-growing spot.
Call the losing hiring manager and explain that you had a tough decision to make. Networking contacts are long-lasting, so don’t be terse or less than professional as you send your regrets (or explain your situation over the phone). Ask your almost-next-manager whether he or she is okay with receiving a LinkedIn invitation from you, and then send one over right away. Get used to this kind of activity, Kelly – this is how the talent marketplace of the future works. Everybody is a consultant and an entrepreneur, whether you’re on the payroll or not. You’re growing muscles now you’ll use for your whole life.